?History Main article: Fig roll Figs are a popular and convenient natural snack food in most parts of the world. Originating in northern Asia Minor, it was likely the early Egyptians who invented the fig roll in its early form, a simple confection of preserved figs wrapped in a flour-based dough, which was then then hand-rolled. Later, fig rolls were commonly traded by traveling sailors and explorers. As baking techniques developed, the shelf life of foods stuffs could be extended, allowing the confections to travel longer distances, and eventually to become popular throughout the Mediterranean region. Mass production Until the late 19th century, many physicians believed that most illnesses were related to digestion problems, and recommended a daily intake of biscuits and fruit. Fig rolls were the ideal solution to this ailment, although they remained a locally-produced and hand-made product. Fig rolls were first mass-produced in 1891 by Philadelphia baker and fig-lover Charles M. Roser, who in 1892 patented a machine which inserted fig paste into a cake-like dough, that was pastry-like, with a characteristic chewiness. Roser named his product "Newtons", after the local town of Newton, Massachusetts, and approached the Cambridgeport, Massachusetts-based Kennedy Biscuit Company, who agreed to take on production and sales. The Kennedy Biscuit Company had recently become associated with the New York Biscuit Company, and after the companies' merger to form Nabisco, the fig rolls were trademarked as "Fig Newtons." Varieties In addition to the original fig filling, Nabisco also makes several varieties of the Newton, including strawberry and raspberry. The Fig Newton also comes in a 100% whole grain variety and a fat-free variety (also available in "snack and seal" packaging). Fig Newton Minis have also been introduced. The fig bar is the company's third best-selling product, boasting sales of more than 700 billion bars a year. Originally, the bars were to be named "Fig in the Roll", but were re-branded "Fig Rolls" in order to make package labelling easier. Advertising and popular culture In the 1950s, for Saturday morning television, advertisements featured a cowboy singing, "Yer darn tootin', I like Fig Newtons." In the 1970s, Nabisco ran an advertising campaign for the Fig Newton. The commercials featured actor James (Jimmy) Harder dressed like a fig. At the conclusion of the song, he struck the "Fig Newton Pose", leaning forward and balancing on his left foot, with arms spread and right leg raised behind him. In the 1939 animated Mickey Mouse short "Mickey's Surprise Party", Mickey gives Minnie many Nabisco products, one of which is Fig Newtons. Mickey claims that they are his favorite. When Grape Newtons were introduced in the wake of Cherry, Blueberry, and Apple (which came several years earlier), a chimpanzee appeared on the commercial, and the song "Yes, We Have No Bananas" played to the chimp's consternation. American advertisements have most frequently featured a narrator with a British accent and other European themes, presenting the pastry as an elegant, sophisticated "adult" sweet that would appeal to the upper classes, rather than as a kiddie lunchbox snack. In the 1980s, Nabisco again produced the popular advertising slogan "A cookie is just a cookie, but a Newton is fruit and cake." In 2006, the brand's push was centered on the claim that a Fig Newton contained more fruit than a Nutri-Grain bar. In the 2006 film, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, the titular character sells his windshield on his NASCAR stock car in order to make more money. Thus, a big Fig Newtons sticker was placed on his windshield. He is quoted as saying "This sticker is dangerous and inconvenient, but I do love Fig Newtons." In 2007, they used the slogan "The cookie that thinks it's a fruit" to advertise Fig Newtons. The packaging of Newtons describes the product as "Fruit Chewy Cookies". This has led branding experts to question whether or not such a dramatic departure from its well known brand is a wise decision. In the December 7, 2009 "The Gorilla Experiment" episode of The Big Bang Theory TV show, Penny incorrectly believes that Fig Newtons are named after scientist Isaac Newton, to which Sheldon corrects her and refers to the town in Massachusetts. In an episode of Happy Days, Potsie is nervous about a test and has to be pushed into his classroom by Fonzie. Potsie states that his stomach is in knots. Fonzie says that he has Potsie covered, handing him two Fig Newtons, stating, "One for now, one for later." Footnotes and references ^ John F. Mariani (1999). The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink. Lebhar-Friedman, New York. ^ http://inventors.about.com/od/fstartinventions/a/Fig_Newton.htm ^ a b c "Official Fig Newton product listing with nutritional information". Nabiscoworld.com. /Brands/brandlist.aspx?SiteId=1&CatalogType=1&BrandKey=newtons&BrandLink=/ newtons/&BrandId=75&PageNo=1. Retrieved 2009-10-11. External links Fig Newton Jingle at NabiscoWorld.com vde Kraft Foods Inc.'s brands Condiments A1 Steak Sauce Bonox Bull's-Eye Barbecue Sauce Grey Poupon Miracle Whip Vegemite Nabisco and other snacks Chicken in a Biskit Chips Ahoy! 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